Festival audiences at the Assembly

Rooms, George Street, will have a chance to find out what Brendan Behan said while still in an incubator, and to discover Mahatma Gandhi‘s best kept secret. that he was, in fact, an Irishman.

The show is called Intimate Memoirs

Of An Irish Taxidermist in which

Ben Keaton. the likely lad frolicking with that small furry thing on our

splendiferous cover, manages to play .

over a dozen characters ranging from his own mother to God. Are we about to learn of the magical embalming properties oquinness then? ‘Mercifully not,‘ revealed Keaton. ‘instead the play is a kind of eccentric social history. When I was a kid. for example. for years I toddled round in the mistaken belief that Gandhi was Irish. The baby Behan gets involved because I happened to be born in the same hospital he was. John F. Kennedy also pitches up at one point. to give my character some advice on his problems, and that has to do with the fact that he was one of the heroes of my idealistic youth.’ Keaton. who hails from Dublin himself. sees the piece as a quintessential piece of Irish humour: ‘In the finale we play some folk music by the Bothy Band Cosgrove does some traditional Irish dancing to it. But, then the music turns into a kind of US scratch mix and the dancer tries what can only be described as traditional Irish hip-hop. I suppose it’s saying that there‘s more to Ireland and Irish culture than you think, that we’re not all the thick Paddy stereotype that you always seem to find.’ (Trevor‘Johnston)

Intimate Memoirs ofan Irish Taxidermist, Assembly Rooms. 8—23 Aug, 4pm. £3.50 (£3). [Flz


Last year someone came up to Eileen Nicholas and said ‘You know, you are doing plays about the people that nobody usually does plays about.’ One of the plays to which they referred was Through the Leaves, a frank, moving portayal by German writer Franz Xavier Kroetz of the relationship between two lonely middle-aged working-class people. The play’s success was astounding- ‘I’ve never experienced audience reaction like it the way people came up and talked to you. It wasn’t in a theatrical way they talked to you. They really felt they‘d got to know the characters. Actually what they’d got to know was something about themselves.’ When she was offered the chance to do another play by Kroetz she jumped at it. Request Programme is a


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In the ten years since they were founded. the National Student Theatre Comapny have become something ofa Fringe institution and have spawned many writers of renown, including Louise Page and John Godber. This year for their tenth anniversary, they are bringing seven productions, including one complete new move a professional production in association with Arc Theatre Productions. Fallen is the result ofcollaboration between

; writer Polly Teale and director Julia

an evening in a woman’s life in total

silence. Eileen sees it as a development of Through the Leaves in many ways. ‘One of the reasons I wanted to do it was that when I was doing Through the Leaves I felt very much that it was a long silence. I could see those two people living very silently for great chunks of their

lives. This play is just that bit further.

I suppose for most of us, ifwe observed our own lives a lot of it is spent in silence, inside our own

emotions.’ ‘Kroetz doesn tmake

fewer demands on you by givmg you fewer words. You have to go much deeper and that’s why it’s very exciting as an actor to do his work. He seems to dare you, by giving an audience a space to move into, as opposed to filling it with chatter. But what do you realise is that you still build up relationships. You build up relationships with the objects on stage the same way that you would with people. It‘s just that they don’t answer back!’ (Sarah Hemming) Request Programme, Eileen Nicholas. Mandela Theatre (venue 79) The Gateway Exchange, 2—4 Abbeymount. Tickets 661 0982. 11—23 Aug (not Sun I 7) 12 noon; 25—30Aug 8.30pm. £3 (£2) [F]

Bardsley, (both award winners) who met through the NSTC. Performed by Carole Pluckrose, it is a one

= woman play about the appalling ‘Kerry Babies’ case, in which a

: young Irish woman, whose

I illegitimate baby had died, was

accused of murdering two infants. The play shows her isolation and the pressures on her, in a society that ostracises unmarried mothers.

Food tor Thought by Tracy Louise Birks examines another area of social silencing, with a carefully researched investigation into causes of and attitudes to anorexia nervosa.

Meanwhile, Karen Peter‘s play Bustiers is a lively piece, inspired by a journey on the London Tube For details of these and other shows contact the company and wish them happy birthday. Fallen, Arc Theatre, St Mary’s Hall, St Mary’s Street,

12—30 (Not Mons) 10.30—1 1.50am.

' £3(£2). Huskers. NS TC. Aug 9—23. [2.10—1.10pm. £2(£1) and Foodfor Thought. NSTC. Aug 8—23 (not

Mons) 6.45—8.15pm. £2.5(l(£1.80) both at Richard Demarco Theatre. H eriot 's School . (venue 2.? ).


The Traverse Theatre‘s festival programme is an inspired and coherent kaleidoscope of new Scottish writing and writing from abroad. Many of the plays address urgent issues Percy Mtwa’s Bopha! from the Earth Players, Johannesburg. is a powerful. vibrant play about a being a black policeman in South Africa. Mtwa worked on Woza Albert.’— also premiered at the Traverse by Market Theatre. Johannesburg (Market Theatre themselves. to whom the Earth Players are affiliated) are appearing in the Official Festival.

From S. Africa to Vietnam and another stain on mankind’s conscience. Les Smith's Bodycount.

, presented by Paines Plough. is about

a Vietnamese village annihilated in ‘68. From Scotland meanwhile. Tom McGrath‘s play Kora is a gentle. warm but angry play about life on a housing scheme. Chris I Iannan‘s The Orphans’ Comedy is a witty. absurd comedy, ostensibly about a fertility clinic where economics have run wild and Lucy’s Play by John Clifford is a playful epic set in Syracuse 300 Ad. where the times they are a-changing.

Kathie and the Hippopotamus offers a rare opportunity to see a play by Mario Vargas Llosa. one of South America's finest novelists a wittin profound and complex play about memory and fantasy and the role they play in ourlives. (‘anada's Michel Tremblay also experiements with form his Albertine, in Five Times (Tarragon Theatre. Canada) shows simultaneously 5 stages in a woman‘s life.

Burning Love by German writer Fitzgerald Kusz. shows a teenage ‘romance’ while Arlette Aminad‘s Mainly After Dark deals with three teenage mothers to be (translated by

the award winning Anne Devlin and

presented by the Almeida).

Finally two one-woman plays: Emily 0t Emeral Hill. Stella Kon's engaging play about a woman in the Baba Chinese community in Singapore. and Blackbeard the Pirate.

Annie Griffin playing the infamous

18th century pirate. Programme runs in rep until 30 Aug. Traverse Theatre,

? 112 West Bow. Grassmarket. 226 2633.

Bo ha! Earth Players